Changing a Will
Did you know that a will remains in force until the person who made the will formally changes or revokes it?
It’s important to note that once a will has been signed, it can’t be changed by simply crossing something out or squeezing in new clauses. Any alterations like that won’t have any effect.
However, BEFORE you sign the will, you can correct things as long as the person making the will and the witnesses sign or initial near the alteration. If this isn’t done, any court will assume that the changes were made after signing and as a consequence the change will have no effect.
What is a Codicil?
Life isn’t static, circumstances change. Sometimes it’s necessary to update a will. This can be done by attaching a codicil to the original will. It’s an entirely separate document that acts as an addition. It’s important to remember that even though it’s an addition, a codicil must still meet the same formal requirements as any will.
IMPORTANT: the codicil must not contain any clause cancelling or revoking the previous will, otherwise it could cancel the will it was meant to update.
Revoking or Cancelling a Will
Section 11 of the Succession Act 2006 now sets out an exhaustive list of how a will may be revoked.
- if the revocation is authorised by an order under section 16 or 18
- by marriage
- by divorce or annulment of the marriage
- by making a new will
- by some writing declaring an intention to revoke the will, executed in accordance with section 6,
- by the will-maker or someone in his or her presence and at his or her direction, burning, tearing or otherwise destroying the will with the intention of revoking it
- by the will-maker or by some person in his or her presence and at his or her direction, writing on the will or dealing with the will in such a manner that the court is satisfied from the state of the will that the will-maker intended to revoke it.
Revocation by Marriage
Did you know that a will is automatically revoked when the person who made the will marries? Unless the will was made in anticipation of that marriage.
If you married before making the will, but it was made in anticipation of that marriage, you will still need to make a new will for it to be effective, even if it’s exactly the same as the old one.
Revocation by Divorce
Divorce DOES NOT revoke the WHOLE will but it DOES revoke:
- any gift to your former spouse
- the appointment of your former spouse as the executor, trustee or guardian unless you expressly state a contrary intention.
It is always sensible to make a new will if you get divorced.
Download our Last Will & Testament Revocation Template Now.